Comparing Faithfully: Insights for Systematic Theological Reflection

Comparing Faithfully: Insights for Systematic Theological Reflection

Comparing Faithfully: Insights for Systematic Theological Reflection

Comparing Faithfully: Insights for Systematic Theological Reflection

Synopsis

Every generation of theologians must respond to its context by rearticulating the central tenets of the faith. Interreligious comparison has been integral to this process from the start of the Christian tradition and is especially salient today. The emerging field of comparative theology, in which close study of another religious tradition yields new questions and categories for theological reflection in the scholars home tradition, embodies the ecumenical spirit of this moment. This discipline has the potential to enrich systematic theology and, by extension, theological education, at its foundations.
The essays in Comparing Faithfully demonstrate that engagement with religious diversity need not be an afterthought in the study of Christian systematic theology; rather, it can be a way into systematic theological thinking. Each section invites students to test theological categories, to consider Christian doctrine in relation to specific comparisons, and to take up comparative study in their own contexts.
This resource for pastors and theology students reconsiders five central doctrines of the Christian faith in light of focused interreligious investigations. The dialogical format of the book builds conversation about the doctrine of God, theodicy, humanity, Christology, and soteriology. Its comparative essays span examples from Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Jain, and Confucian traditions as well as indigenous Aztec theology, and contemporary spiritual but not religious thought to offer exciting new perspectives on Christian doctrine.

Excerpt

The North American religious context is changing. If, in recent generations, the dominant Protestant Christianity came to terms first with Catholicism and then again with Judaism and Islam as fellow “Abrahamic” faiths, today the pluralism within public, intellectual, and family life is even more evident. Many Christians are curious about this reality and open to learning about it. They are encountering religious diversity and evaluating their beliefs and practices in light of it.

Each generation of theologians must respond to its context by rearticulating the central insights of the faith. Christian thinkers have always made reference to the cultures and schools of thought that surround them, but there seems to be something momentous about this place and time. Diana Butler Bass believes that Christianity is in the midst of a deep transformation of the sort that happens, at most, every few hundred years. Just as Francis of Assisi tapped into the spirit of his age to bring about a shift in Christianity toward spirituality, simplicity, and preaching, leaders today are rising to respond to popular distaste for rigid institutional exclusions and a growing hunger for spiritual depth. For movements such as the Interfaith Youth Core, the world’s religious traditions seem to make better partners than competitors in this transformation.

Christian theological educators have responded to this growing interest in interreligious understanding, dialogue, and cooperation in a variety of ways. They have become aware that religious leaders are often asked questions about the rituals, beliefs, and sanctity of religious neighbors for which superficial knowledge of these traditions is insufficient. They have begun to draw on the important literature that has emerged related to the most effective methods for teaching and learning about other faiths. Some seminary curricula require a course in another . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.